As you have probably heard by now, a free-to-play browser based MMO based on George R.R Martins Game of Thrones will hopefully be gracing us with its presence by the end of 2012. As a fan of the original series of books, I was a little dubious when I first heard about this but what we have heard from Artplant (via IGN) has made this game look quite promising. Apparently, its going to be set in the time of the first book (which is, of course, Game of Thrones) after the death of a certain character. If you have read the book or seen the recent HBO series you probably get who Im talking about. According to the information available, the landscape of the game will stretch from the Wall in the North (which as you may know, is basically the end of civilised society) to beyond Kings Landing to the south. It doesnt seem like the entirety of Westeros will be there to begin with, but given the sheer size of Martins landscape, you can hardly blame them for that. Factions and guilds will play a major part in the game, and basically serve as the games main plot mechanic. The three factions are the Lannisters, Baratheons and the Starks, but rather than playing as one of the three legendary Houses, you will join a lesser House a guild that will align themselves with one of the main factions, who are all trying to install a new Kings Hand. So basically this means that if you decide you want to leave the scheming Lannisters for the noble Starks, you can defect. If your Faction happens to be the one to get the Hand into power, the whole faction gets a nice bonus for a short period of time, but this is an understandably long process. As most of Martins work is about the plots, schemes and backstabbing of the characters, this game has sensibly chosen a strong PvP focus. There will probably be a little PvE at the start, but dont expect any dungeons or raids. One of the main elements of the PvP seems to be skirmishes, which supposedly occur dynamically within the world and challenge the player to battle it out with others over a single objective, such as a wagon with valuable goods. Given that this is, ultimately, a game about war, there will supposedly be bigger siege battles towards the end of the game, which pleases me quite a lot. Everything I have read so far about this game has been very encouraging, it seems like the developers have actually taken the time to pay attention to the original text and it seems like that they have managed to capturethe heart and soul of what makes Game of Thrones so enthralling. I, for one, am eagerly awaiting this games release. According to the word on the street, there's probably going to be a closed beta test launched in the fall, with an eye on launch by the end of 2012.